The End of Standardized Platforms

A version of this essay was originally published at Tech.pinions, a website dedicated to informed opinions, insight and perspective on the tech industry.

Historians of the technology industry observed a pattern that was predictable with regard to new computing platforms. In the early days of a computing segment, like mainframes, minis and desktops, there was a great deal of platform fragmentation. These early computing systems often ran proprietary software and operating systems with little interoperability. Eventually, a standard emerged — Windows. Even though Macs stuck around, their market share stayed well below 3 percent for much of the build-out of the PC era. Here is a visual to show how platforms started fragmented and then standardized around Windows:

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